Preparing for the Academic Job Market: A Guide for Social Work Doctoral Students and Their Mentors

Elizabeth Lightfoot, Cynthia Franklin, Raiza Beltran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


While the academic job market continues to be strong for social work doctoral graduates relative to graduates of other fields, there has been relatively little guidance for students and their mentors on how to prepare for and obtain these positions. Research in doctoral education across disciplines shows that students need help transitioning from their role as doctoral student to navigating the academic job market. This article describes the academic job search process specifically tailored to the social work job market, which is unique both in its chronic undersupply of candidates and in its emphasis on practice. Topics covered include early preparation for the job search, preparing job application materials, the selection process, negotiating offers, and finding the “right” faculty position. The need for the development of career services in doctoral pedagogy to help students prepare for the academic job market is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Social Work Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Council on Social Work Education.


  • employment
  • job market
  • social work
  • academic
  • faculty
  • search
  • doctoral
  • PhD program


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